Barberini Tapestries Shine Again
Beautifully restored from severe damage caused by a fire, the Barberini tapestries made their big debut yesterday evening at the fourth largest Christian church in the world. And the Nazmiyal team was ever grateful to witness it. Reaching nearly 16 feet in height, the restoration of these woven baroque works of art were restored by the Textile Conservation Laboratory at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, where they are on display through June 25th, 2017.
Commission by Cardinal Francesco Barberini in 1643, the enormity of the tapestries was fitting to that of the cathedral, where the tapestries are hung side by side throughout three small chapels. It was exciting to see these tapestries treated as they would have been in the 17th century, hung prominently for viewing rather than as something in the background. And in the fresh new platform of an exhibition!
Once adorned in St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican, the tapestries suffered tremendous damage from a devastating fire on December 18th, 2001. Quite literally reborn from the ashes, they have now been beautifully restored, thanks an amazing team of people including Ligia Fernandez, who Jason Nazmiyal had the privilege of meeting at the opening last night. Jason chatted with Ligia about the process of bringing these rare pieces back to life to find that it was no easy task.
Designed by the painter Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, the exhibition will bring you back to what it would have been like to see tapestries in a Baroque chapel, many moons ago. For a hint of Rome in NYC, if you are in town, the Nazmiyal Collection is pleased to encourage you to go see this magnificent exhibition.
Who was Cardinal Francesco Barberini?
Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1662–1738) was an Italian nobleman and member of the prominent Barberini family, which played a significant role in the Catholic Church and the papal court during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. He held various positions within the church and the Papal States.
Francesco Barberini was born to Taddeo Barberini and Anna Colonna, and he was the nephew of Pope Urban VIII. He was educated in law and pursued a career in the church, eventually becoming a cardinal in 1690.
One of his most notable achievements was his role in negotiating the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, which ended the Nine Years’ War (War of the Grand Alliance) between various European powers. As a papal legate, he played a crucial part in mediating the negotiations.
Barberini also held several administrative positions within the Papal States and the Roman Curia. He was known for his patronage of the arts and was a collector of paintings and sculptures. He supported architectural projects and sponsored various cultural endeavors.
Cardinal Francesco Barberini’s life and career provide insights into the political and cultural dynamics of his time, as well as the continued influence of noble families within the Catholic Church and European diplomacy.
For some more beautiful tapestries, explore the Nazmiyal Collection:
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